Apple delays return to the office as Covid cases spike
Apple has been forced to delay its much-vaunted ‘lack of freedom day’ from which its employees will be required to work from the office.
September was always too optimistic
The company now requires employees to begin working from the office from October, rather than the originally mandated September date. The company has been forced to this as Covid cases continue to increase.
The crisis is far from over. The World Health Organization says that as of July 12 confirmed cases worldwide climbed nearly 12% compared to the previous week.
The move to delay the return is likely to be welcomed by a large number of Apple employees. Apple faces a near-revolution among many staff, who think it is being inflexible in requiring staff to return to the office at least three days a week.
I’ve even come across reports that Apple has begun denying people the right to work from home even in cases in which they were working remotely before the pandemic. Workers from disabled communities are allegedly badly effected. Which seems dumb.
One job to own them all
Apple’s inflexible approach will inevitably draw punishment from its employees.
Its corporate culture is notorious for being incredibly demanding. Apple workers do get a kick out of delivering “their best work” while at the firm, but the opportunity to enjoy a better life/work balance by working remotely has benefitted many staff, despite the crisis.
Employees are now naturally curious to find out what working remotely might be like post-pandemic. After all, despite working remotely they have also had to manage the many challenges of life in a pandemic.
Apple’s rigid ‘hybrid working’ structure requires workers attend the office at least three days a week. But thousands of workers are reportedly planning to vote with their feet, and take their skills to companies more capable of accepting 21st Century working practise.
“In a survey on remote work conducted by employees in June, 36.7 percent of respondents said they were worried they’d have to leave Apple due to the lack of flexibility (1,735 people answered the question),” says the Verge.
Simply the wrong direction
Apple’s refusal is anachronistic, backwards-facing and seeks a future that has already become the past.
It doesn’t matter how often senior executives tell staff that a return to the office is “essential”, people will vote with their feet. The perception of Apple as an autocratic company engaged in an authoritarian approach to crisis will do it no favors.
The world is changing and every analyst now expects true flexible-working will form part of the future of every industry.
And for every billion-dollar HQ that suddenly becomes depopulated there will be positive impacts in smaller communities and resurrected high streets worldwide. New habits build new opportunities.
It’s a shame Apple is refusing to engage with this reality, as it betrays a fundamental disconnect in its thinking, one which I fear may turn out to be a philosophical fissure that undermines the firm.
Apple must do better on its remote working offer. Failing to do so makes the company part of the problem, not the solution.
Dear reader, this is just to let you know that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.